Storytelling is one of the oldest ways of communicating about ideas and events. Young children love to hear all about characters and their situations. You and your child can practice the tradition of storytelling by creating your own characters and experiences. Take your characters to new places, have them interact with their friends, family and pets, and take them on little adventures. The stories can be short and simple, and you can either tell a complete story in one sitting or end it with a cliffhanger, “until next time!” You might be surprised at how much your child enjoys these tales and can’t wait for the next installment!
- your child
- your imagination
Step 1: Invite your child to tell a story with you.
Step 2: Create a main character. Sometimes, it’s best to make the main character the same age and gender as your own child. That way, your child might relate to the character in a special way and be able to connect to her own personal experiences.
Step 3: Think of some details. Thinking about “Who, What, When, Where and Why” often helps. Include sensory details that describe sights, sounds and smells. Talk about what the characters are thinking and feeling.
Step 4: As you tell the story, ask your child what should happen next? Take turns telling parts of the story.
Step 5: Either wrap up the details of the story or end it with a “To Be Continued.”
Step 6: Add more to the story or take the character on a new adventure the next day. (If ideas for future stories pop into your head, jot them down and put the list near your storytelling area.)
To make it easier, start the story yourself. If your child has difficulty coming up with ideas, offer two choices or center your story around a scenario that your child may have recently experienced, seen on a television show or movie, or heard about. By doing that, your child will be able to use her background knowledge to think of things to add to the story.
To add some challenge, let your child become the author and illustrator. Have your child create a journal based on the stories you’ve created together. She can illustrate the stories and write characters’ names. Your child can label the illustrations by writing beginning sounds or using invented spelling to write the words.